Building stability with gums, part 1

by Laurie Gorton
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Bakers can improve the viscosity and stability of batters and doughs with food gums such as guar, locust, xanthan, psyllium and now tara. John Brandquist of Caremoli USA describes applications and usage levels for these important bakery ingredients.

Baking & Snack: How are your gums and hydrocolloids typically used in bakery formulations? Are there any out-of-the-ordinary applications that bakers should consider?

John Brandquist: Guar: Used to provide viscosity to doughs and batters so that air/gas bubbles are better entrapped during proofing and/or baking. Also helps to suspend solids such as poppyseeds. Usage rate is typically 0.25 to 1.0% (formula weight basis). Typically dry blended with other ingredients prior to hydration of the mix. Soluble in cold hydration medium. Helps to retard staling and ice crystal growth in frozen doughs.

Locust bean gum (LBG): Used to provide viscosity in bakery fillings, especially in reduced sugar fillings in conjunction with pectin, starch. Usage is typically 0.1 to 0.5% (formula weight basis). LBG must be hydrated at or above 140°F in order to function and should be hydrated prior to adding it to the other ingredients in the bakery filling. Can be co-hydrated with pectin.

 Xanthan: Used to provide viscosity to doughs and batters so that air/gas bubbles are better entrapped during proofing and/or baking. Also helps to suspend solids such as poppyseeds. Usage rate is typically 0.1 to 0.5% (formula weight basis). Typically dry blended with other ingredients prior to hydration of the mix. Soluble in cold hydration medium.

Tara: Used to provide viscosity to doughs and batters so that air/gas bubbles are better entrapped during proofing and/or baking. Also helps to suspend solids such as poppyseeds. Usage rate is typically 0.25 to 1.0% (formula weight basis). Typically dry blended with other ingredients prior to hydration of the mix. Approximately 70% soluble in cold hydration medium, is best hydrated in hot medium for full functionality.

Psyllium: A fiber composed of two-thirds soluble, one-third insoluble fractions. Forms a biphasic system upon hydration, where the soluble fraction creates a viscous solution, and the insoluble fraction will eventually settle. In baking mixes, it should be dry blended with other ingredients prior to hydration of the mix. Usage rate of approximately 1% (formula weight basis) will retard staling in bread applications.

Are there limits to these materials' use? How must they be labeled in the ingredient listing on packages?

Limits to use are practical limits. You gain nothing by over-application and may run into excessive viscosity development.

Labeling must be in accordance with country-specific regulations, such as use of E-numbers. In general, all of these gums are labeled as their name implies: guar gum, xanthan gum, tara gum, psyllium husk fiber and locust bean gum or carob gum.

Looking specifically at guar, presently in very tight supply, what do you advise bakers seeking an alternative to this gum?

Yes. Guar may be substituted by tara gum on an 0.5:1 to 1:1 ratio. You should run tests on your specific applications to see what replacement level works for you. The only thing to remember is that tara is only fully functional if it can be hydrated with hot liquid medium (water, milk, etc.). In wetter batters, this issue is overcome during the baking step. In proofing situations, longer proof times may be needed to get full functionality. We have not seen any decreases in loaf volume and/or height, muffin volumes and appearance with full substitution of guar by tara.

What gums and hydrocolloid ingredients does Caremoli USA offer for bakery and snack applications?

Caremoli carries guar, tara, xanthan and locust bean gums. Guar is branded as CareGuar and is produced according to strict quality specifications in our new state-of-the-art European-designed plant in Jodhpur, India. This is the only new guar production facility in India which is operated according to US and EU quality regulations. Tara is produced under contract in Peru, and LBG is produced under contract in Sicily. Both are branded under our trade name CareColloid. Xanthan is simply Caremoli Xanthan Gum and is produced under contract in Shandong Province, China. Please see www.caremoligroup.com for product range and further description.

We also have a unique Psyllium Husk Fiber, CarePsyllium, which has some gum-like properties, especially in breads. Our Psyllium is produced in our Indian plant mentioned above. Our psyllium husk finer is the only psyllium available on the market which has been thermally treated for reduction of microbial lode.

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